Our Hemplete journey began when we couldn't find a protein bar we felt good eating ourselves. This is our motivation and our story.
Who are we?
Hemplete started like all our favorite foods- At home in the kitchen. Armed with disappointment in the existing market, and even more optimism, we started experimenting. It didn't make sense to us that there were no protein bars with a balanced macronutrient profile and clean ingredients, there was always a tradeoff. After testing 20+ recipes on friends, family, and random gym-goers we started to search for a co-packer. We called 10+ facilities until finally finding one that would work with a new business AND would work hemp protein. Abe moved to LA to be onsite for the co-packer and we launched a small batch of a few thousand bars to test market demand in spring of 2016. After selling through our first test batch we took all the feedback and went back to the drawing board. We removed the honey to make the bars fully vegan, made packaging improvements, new website, and redesigned the entire brand experience.
We’re back! After development delays, thousands of bars scrapped when they didn’t pass our personal quality assurance, industry-wide cashew butter shortages and other speed-bumps, we’re back on-track slinging hemp protein once-again. This time with our beautiful new packaging, latest flavor, and new/improved formulas.We’re focusing mainly on online sales right now while beginning to expand retail opportunities in California where we are able to see to the most enjoyable buying experience for our Hemplete community!
We are about more than just protein bars. Of course, we’re going to be focused on increasing accessibility, expanding retail, developing new flavors, new products, and all that good stuff. However, that’s just one part of the master plan. We can’t say too much just yet, but stay tuned, as we continue to grow we will expand beyond just bars— our aim from the beginning has been to optimize the shift toward plant-based nutrition not only for the health of our communities but the planet at large. We’re exploring every step in the product life-cycle from farm to post consumption and in addition to new products we are working to lead the industry in adopting new, more sustainable packaging options, business practices and the like.
Along the way, we've learned a lot about how different brands use labeling and sneaky wording to mislead us when we're looking for the healthiest option. We've documented some common marketing tactics keep an eye out for. Internally we refer to this list as "Sh** Hemplete Doesn't Do" but feel free to call it whatever you like.
Added “Natural” Flavorings
Your body knows when it’s being fooled. A natural flavoring is still an added flavoring. Pay attention next time you eat a food with added flavorings, something just feels off, a little unsatisfying isn’t it? Natural flavorings often contain close to 60 ingredients, none of which are required to be listed. Just because the “natural” flavoring is designed to taste like strawberries or blueberries, for example, doesn’t mean it contains any strawberry or blueberry at all, only that it was derived from natural sources. What makes a source natural? Well, Castoreum, a secretion collected from the anal glands of a beaver is technically a natural source and common additive in natural berry flavorings. Need we say more?
We use zero added flavourings, all our amazing flavor comes only from our carefully selected, high quality ingredients.
Cut sugar “in-half,” “double” the protein
This one is hard to believe, but YES! Some “healthy” snack brands are listing the protein content of their entire package on the front, while only listing the sugar content of one serving. Look closely at the package, and you’ll notice the fine print, as well as multiple servings listed on the nutrition label with only a fraction of the protein you expected.
We list the protein and sugar content of an entire bar on the front of our packaging.
No added sugar, just juice!
Just because a bar claims no added sugar doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have unnecessarily high sugar content. While eating some fruit can have health benefits, consuming equal servings of fruit juice has been shown in studies to increase the risk of diabetes. The juicing process removes almost all fiber, and destroys many beneficial compounds in the fruit. Fruit juice is essentially sugar water, with some trace nutrients and almost no fiber to slow the glycemic load. Yet, due to labeling laws, companies are still able to claim “no-added sugar.”
We do use a small amount of sugar in the form of organic coconut nectar. Specifically, Cocoa + Coco has 2g, Peanut Butter has 1g, and Cashew Berry has less than 1g. The rest is naturally occurring in the other ingredients!
No added sugar, just dates!
Another way brands claim no added sugar is to use a base of blended dates to help their bar’s consistency. This is much cheaper than using a nut or seed butter, and the excess sweetness can help to mask the poor taste of lower-quality ingredients. However, look out for bars made with dates, they will have a very high sugar content, and traditionally dried fruit has less active nutrients and enzymes than its fresh counterpart.
We use organic nut or seed butters and prebiotic fiber as a base to provide long lasting energy with minimal blood sugar impact.
High Protein (But Higher Sugar)
Many bars claim high protein, even listing their protein count on the front of the package, but make no mention of the sugar content. Claiming high protein would lead many to believe that protein is the primary macronutrient, but many times these bars have an even higher sugar count than they do protein.
We pack 14+ grams of protein with no more than 3g of sugar in each bar, AND we list both the protein and the sugar content on the front of our packaging so you know that your protein bar isn’t just another candy-bar in disguise.